Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National Architects Week

"National Architecture Week, April 10-16, is a time to showcase the positive role architects play in our communities and highlight the power of design." — AIA
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) released a schedule of events for the Week.

When I tell folks that "I am an Architect." The response is typically, "I always wanted to be an Architect." It is often romanticized. As children we love to create little worlds whether it is a tent with blankets in the living room or a tree house in the back yard. When we get to college, the Architects have cool 'studios' instead of labs and classrooms and they build these crazy cool models and presentations. To build is to create and leave a legacy. But you don't have to BE an Architect to influence or create a legacy. Everyone has an opportunity to make a difference. However, when it comes to the built environment, a Professional Architect will be the key to its success. The Architect's role in all of this will be to interpret and coordinate the needs and information and then develop ideas and into thoughtful and sustainable solutions. Good design matters and the skill of a trained Professional Archtiect will make the difference in creating a legacy to be proud of. It does take a Village to build something special and that Village should have an Architect involved from the beginning.

Being an Architect has it's "cool moments" but working together with people to create something unique and beautiful that enriches the lives of the end user is powerful.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Understanding the Client - Architect - Contractor Relationship

A successful, efficient project considers the client's needs, well-being, and budget. The Client, The Architect, and the Contractor have very specific and necessary roles:
  • The Client/Owner– has specific goals, expectations and a budget that is in alignment with these goals and expectations.
  • The Architect – must guide the Client, propose reasonable, sustainable design solutions, and provide accurate, detailed drawings. These must meet the Client's requirements as well as applicable building codes and zoning criteria. The finalized construction documents will become the Client’s contract with the Contractor.
  • The Contractor – must be a responsible craftsman with expertise and the experience necessary to manage the trades and to build the project as designed and documented.
As with a three-legged stool, each of the three parties must work together in concert. They must maintain open dialogue and be able to troubleshoot as a team in order to respond to unforeseen issues or client-initiated changes. Limiting or eliminating any of these components will leave the client with a compromised solution.
Ultimately, the Client, or Owner, has two contracts: one is between the Owner and the Architect and the other is between the Owner and the Contractor. The Architect works for the Owner during the Construction Phase to observe that the Construction Documents are  interpreted correctly.  The Architect advocates for the Owner. Beware of the Contractor that does not want an Architect involved. Remember, the Architect works for the Owner to see that the investment in the Contract Documents--also known as Drawings and Specifications--is realized. This "three-legged stool" model also creates checks and balances that have been the successful precedence for many of the projects Clawson Architects has completed.